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Fiji Sun



July 04
10:28 2018

De facto partners can take paternity leave.

This was clarified by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while briefing the members of Parliament on the 2018-2019 National Budget in Suva yesterday.

He said that de facto fathers were also recognised in the law.

He said in instances where the biological fathers had died and “you are not the biological father,” they also recognised that and the leave was also applicable to them.

He added that no one would be a father every day, in some instances maybe in a couple of years in a row, “but it is not going to happen every year”.

So paternity leave in that respect is only when the child is born.

Meanwhile, paternity leave can only be taken before or after the pregnancy.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said some women or mothers might have difficulties in pregnancy so they would need their husbands or their partners around.

He said the leave was not only after childbirth, it could also be pre-childbirth. He said that’s the way the law had been drafted.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also clarified the five-day Family Care Leave.

He said there were instances where people missed work or they took a bite into their annual leave to stay with their sick child, wife, husband or partners.

There are also instances where parents are ill and they have to be rushed to the hospital.

“So they are entitled to five days Family Care Leave, that’s obviously compulsory,” he said.

“Reality is that most people probably end up taking the five days in any case.”

For the businesses, irrespective of its size, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it is entitled to 150 per cent tax deduction for the salaries paid to people who take Paternity Leave and Home Care Leave.

“There won’t be any financial burdens on them,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that researches had shown that allowing these types of leave to be taken would result in greater sales and good employer-employee relationship. Employees would feel that they have been looked after well and the productivity level would  also increase.

Brenda Valemei, who has been living in a de facto relationship for seven years, said she was grateful for the initiative.

Ms Valemei just gave birth to her eight-month-old baby girl.

“From my personal experience, after giving birth I really needed my partner’s emotional support in those early days,” she said.

“Because he was working, in the nights I couldn’t really disturb him a lot to handle baby when she cried, which was usually in the night.

“And mothers themselves need their rest to recover.”

When contacted for a comment, Methodist Church of Fiji president Revend Epineri Vakadewavosa said he couldn’t really comment because he had not sighted the budget kit yet. Edited by Percy Kean



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